Magnesium is a mineral in the body that helps with everything from digestion to energy production. It’s essential for your health, but are you getting enough? Certain disorders, illnesses, and conditions can cause a magnesium deficiency. This deficiency can get in the way of normal muscle and nerve functioning, heart health, and bone strength. Plus, without enough magnesium, your metabolism and protein synthesis can suffer, leaving you feeling sluggish and fatigued.
Most people get the magnesium they need from a well-balanced diet. However, if your physician has recommended a magnesium supplement, you’ve got a lot of options. Magnesium supplements come in many forms. Some supplements are easier for the body to absorb, and some affect your body differently. The search for the right magnesium supplement can feel overwhelming, but you’ve come to the right place.
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Types of magnesium supplements
Magnesium citrate is derived from the magnesium salt found in citric acid. This is one of the most common magnesium supplements because it’s easily absorbed by the body. It’s often used in laxatives but also provides a good dose of magnesium.
Magnesium taurate is a chelated form of magnesium, which means it’s firmly attached to taurine so the two aren’t separated in the digestive system. This form of magnesium is used to treat cardiovascular issues because it’s known to help prevent arrhythmia. It’s a good source of magnesium if you’re not looking for a laxative effect.
Magnesium malate is another chelated form of magnesium, but in this form the magnesium is attached to malic acid. Certain enzymes use malic acid in energy production. For this reason, magnesium malate is often used for people with chronic fatigue. This is a highly soluble, easy-to-absorb form of magnesium.
In this form, magnesium is attached to glycine, an amino acid. This is one of the easiest forms of magnesium for the body to absorb without causing diarrhea. It’s often used to correct long-term magnesium deficiencies.
This form of magnesium is also known as magnesite. In the stomach, it combines with hydrochloric acid to make magnesium chloride, making it an excellent antacid and magnesium supplement. When taken in high doses, it can have a laxative effect.
Magnesium chloride only contains about 12% magnesium, but it’s easy for the body to absorb. It helps kidney function and is often used as a magnesium supplement for those susceptible to the laxative effects of other forms of magnesium.
Magnesium oxide is a common, inexpensive magnesium supplement that’s used as an antacid and laxative. However, it’s not chelated, which makes it harder to absorb. Many magnesium oxide supplements contain more magnesium per pill (sometimes 60% more) to get the same absorption rate as other forms of magnesium. Magnesium oxide is not the best source of magnesium, but it is almost always the easiest on the wallet.
This magnesium compound is naturally made in the body to build DNA. Sometimes called magnesium orotate dihydrate, magnesium orotate is used to improve sleep and cardiovascular health. It’s also often promoted as an athletic performance enhancer. However, the scientific evidence on this is sparse. Magnesium orotate is one of the more expensive forms of magnesium, so unless your doctor specifically suggests this form, you might want to try a different supplement first.
Commonly known as Epsom salt, this form of magnesium is inexpensive and readily available but only has about 10% magnesium. Epsom salt is used to relieve sore muscles and is usually put into bath water. It shouldn’t be ingested as it’s easy to overdose.
This form of magnesium comes from the magnesium salt of lactic acid. It has a good absorption rate and is used to treat magnesium deficiency, heartburn, and indigestion. However, this form of magnesium should not be taken by those with kidney disease or heart disease.
Magnesium aspartate is a common ingredient in supplements because the body absorbs it well. It’s a chelated form of magnesium that combines magnesium with aspartic acid, an amino acid naturally found in protein-rich foods. Magnesium acetate protects the heart and can be used to treat headaches and muscle cramps.